Adon Flirts Again:
“They’ve been really working with him all week long,” manager Davey Martinez said of the work his staff did to address the leg cramps Joan Adon dealt with in back-to-back outings before taking on the Philadelphia Phillies last week in Citizens Bank Park.
“So hopefully there’s no issues today, and the biggest thing for him is to go out there and get through that first inning with no issues, and then we’ll go from there.”
There were no issues with cramping.
Adon, who took a bid for a perfect game into the sixth inning in his first start back up in the majors back on August 5th in Cincinnati, before struggling with cramps, (and his command) in back-to-back starts, actually tossed 3 2⁄3 scoreless in Philly, but a two-out walk to Trea Turner kept the bottom of the fourth alive, and four straight RBI hits followed, the fourth a 2-run homer by Kyle Schwarber, before the Nationals’ 25-year-old starter got out No. 3 of the inning to escape a 34-pitch, six-run frame which ended his outing.
Adon received no decision when the Nats rallied for a win, but the rough inning left him with a 7.62 ERA, 4.19 FIP, and a .220/.278/.420 line against in his three starts, and 18 1⁄3 IP since he returned to starting in the majors again this season.
Going up against the Miami Marlins last night in loanDepot park, Adon worked around an error in a scoreless first inning, retired the side in order in the second, and the third...and the fourth, then he stranded a hit batter in the fifth, and got one out in the sixth before a single by Luis Arraez (up the middle, off second base, and under CJ Abram’s glove) ended the nascent no-hit bid by the Nationals’ starter. He gave up a second single in the next at-bat, before getting out of his sixth scoreless frame.
joan adon carrying a no-no into the 6th inning for the second time in four starts is crAAAAAzy pic.twitter.com/96WphaHV1y— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 26, 2023
It was a 6-0 game in the visitor’s favor when Adon officially left the game before the bottom of the seventh...
Joan Adon’s Line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 94 P, 60 S, 4/7 GO/FO.
Adon generated just seven swinging strikes, four of them on his changeup (including one low and away which Josh Bell missed for strike three and the Nats’ right-hander’s final out of the start), throwing the pitch 11 times total (12%), and picking up 2 of 16 called strikes with it (with nine called strikes on his 4-seam fastball, which he threw 36% of the time).
“Man, his fastball was good, his breaking ball was good. His changeup, his changeup was really, really good today,” Martinez said after the game.
“It made all the other pitches that much better. He attacked the zone, and when he does that he’s really effective, and he pitched really well for us and we were able to get a win.”
Mason Thompson did not have it. Thompson took over in the bottom of the seventh, with the Nationals up 6-0, and gave up back-to-back singles, and a two-run triple*, 6-2, and the next batter hit an RBI, ground-rule double, 6-3, and the Nats’ reliever was up to 16 pitches, 12 of them strikes, when manager Davey Martinez went to the pen again.
[ed. note - “Thompson was squeezed on what should have been strike three against Jesús Sánchez before Sánchez hit the two-run triple.”]
The runner Thompson left on scored on an RBI groundout with Robert Garcia on the hill for the visiting Nationals, 6-4, before Garcia got an inning-ending 6-4-3 in the next AB.
Garcia got three more outs in the bottom of the eighth, retiring the side in order, then it was Hunter Harvey in the ninth, getting an opportunity in a save situation for the first time since July 14th and converting it for his 10th save of the season.
Davey Martinez on Kieboom since he returned to the majors: “He’s getting himself ready early and he’s attacking the baseball, he really is. he’s really focused on hitting strikes, and when he does get a strike he’s putting a good swing on it.”
CJ Abrams wrapped up the three-game series in Yankee Stadium with back-to-back hits in his final two plate appearances, homering off Tommy Kahnle (for the second time in three games, on changeups both times), and then singling off reliever Clay Holmes as part of a late-game rally which got a run across to put the Nationals up 6-4 in what ended up a 6-5 win.
Abrams went 4 for 13 in New York, connecting for his 13th and 14th home runs on the year, and he watched the second off Kahnle long enough to get the pitcher’s attention. His own manager noticed it too.
“We are going to try to play the game every day the right way,” Davey Martinez said when he was asked about Abrams admiring his 360-foot shot, “... but him coming up in that situation and [giving] us an extra run was awesome.”
Asked a follow-up question about his own reaction to Abrams’ actions, Martinez offered up a more nuanced answer.
“One, as I always say, my conversation with him will stay in ‘the circle,’” Martinez said. “But I definitely want to teach these guys how to play the game the right way. That’s a good team, no matter what they say, that’s a good team. We don’t want to wake up sleeping giants. We don’t. We just want to go about our business.
“I was proud of him for having a good at-bat, and he’s been playing well, but some things I got to be able to control.”
“It’s baseball,” Abrams said when he was asked about Martinez talking to him about the HR celebration.
“You just got to keep playing the game, and go out there and play some defense after.”
“I was hyped,” he said of his reaction. “Looking at the dugout at the team trying to give everybody positive vibes. I fed off Alex [Call’s] home run [in the previous at-bat].
“Just keep the positive vibes going.”
Abrams knew it was gone off the bat, so he did have a moment admire it a bit.
“It was the same pitch that I had two days ago, the changeup, and I got it and hit it to the right side of the field that time.”
In the series opener with the Marlins in Miami last night, Abrams singled to start the game, took second on a groundout, stole his 34th base of the season to get himself into scoring position, and the leadoff man for the Nats scored on an RBI groundout off of Joey Meneses for the first run of seven the club scored in a 7-4 win (which was the Nationals’ first win of the season in seven games against the Marlins, 1-6).
Abrams and his teammates are building confidence according to the Nats’ skipper.
“Confidence is really good right now, and that’s a key factor,” Martinez said after the series opener in Miami, “but these young guys are starting to understand how to play the game. We’re playing the game the right way, playing good defense, throwing strikes, and putting the ball in play hitting-wise, so everything is going well right now, and I’m proud of these guys.”